Easter 6 • John 14:15–21 • May 29, 2011

Textual Considerations

John 14:1–14 serves as the gospel for the previous Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Easter.

While John 14:15–21 is the gospel for the sixth Sunday of Easter, the words of Jesus have their setting in the pre-Passion days of our Lord.

This study follows the text of NTG and treats the verb τηρήσετε at the end of verse 15 as a future (cf. ESV and NIV). The textual critical apparatus provides an alternate form (τηρήσατε) which is translated as an imperative (cf. NRSV, NKJV, NLT).

The English translations of the pronoun “you” in verses 16–20 do not indicate that the pronouns in the Greek are plural. The plural pronouns—together with the context—provide the understanding that the words of Jesus were intended for his disciples as a community of believers.

ἄλλον παράκλητον = “an additional paraclete” (v. 16), “who will be with you forever” (16).

References to the persons of the Trinity are present in the text: “the Father” (vv. 16.20, 21); “the Son” (“me”, “I” [vv. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], the Living Lord ἐγὼ ζῶ [v. 19] [cf. Rom 14:11, Is 45:23]); “the Holy Spirit” (vv. 16, 17).

The literary device of inclusion is evident in the text. In verse 15 Jesus states, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” In verse 21 Jesus identifies who it is that loves him: “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me” (cf. Jn 8:24, 13:34; 1 Jn 4:21).

Suggested Sermon Outline

Jesus Christ desires to have disciples that love him and observe his commandments.

  1. Jesus Christ promised his first disciples—a community of believers—that
    1. He would ask his Father to give them an additional helper/paraclete
      1. The Spirit of Truth
        1. Unable to be known by the world
        2. Who would live/remain with them
        3. Who would be in them
    2. He would not leave them orphaned/abandoned
      1. Would leave for a while (Suffer, be crucified, die)
      2. But would come to them (Rise from the dead)
    3. As the author of life he would
      1. Grant them life
      2. Bring them into an intimate relationship of love with the Father and himself
      3. Empower them to observe his commandments (cf. comments above)
  2. Jesus Christ fulfilled his promises through his
    1. Passion
    2. Rising from the dead on Easter
    3. Sending of the Holy Spirit on the first Christian Pentecost
  3. You/We who live in Jesus Christ’s current community of believers
    1. Have been brought into this community
      1. By the Spirit of truth
      2. By the Spirit working through the word and/or Holy Baptism
    2. Are maintained in this community by his word and body and blood
    3. Are empowered to observe his commandments:
      1. To believe in him as the very Son of God
      2. To love one another
    4. Await his return to claim his believers

Arthur F. Graudin

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